Winner announced in DC State Fair cannabis contest

Sam McBee, bending down at far the left, is winner of the 2016 DC State Fair’s Best Bud Contest. He says his entry, the “Golden Strawberries,” is strain created by Crockett Family Farms in California. He’s joined in this photo by contest coordinator Mark Perry, at center, and Chris Washburn of Let’s Grow DC. (WTOP/Liz Anderson)
Sam McBee, bending down at far the left, is winner of the 2016 DC State Fair’s Best Bud Contest. He says his entry, the “Golden Strawberries,” is strain created by Crockett Family Farms in California. He’s joined in this photo by contest coordinator Mark Perry, at center, and Chris Washburn of Let’s Grow DC. (WTOP/Liz Anderson)

Mark Perry, coordinator of the DC State Fair Best Bud Competition, checks out the winning bud, “Golden Strawberries.” Sam McBee, (at left) who submitted entry, is pictured here with Samson Paisley. (WTOP/Liz Anderson)
Mark Perry, coordinator of the DC State Fair Best Bud Competition, checks out the winning bud, “Golden Strawberries.” Sam McBee, (at left) who submitted entry, is pictured here with Samson Paisley. (WTOP/Liz Anderson)

Mark Perry, coordinator of the DC State Fair Best Bud Competition, takes a whiff of the winning bud, “Golden Strawberries.” Sam McBee, (at left) who submitted entry, is pictured here with Samson Paisley. (WTOP/Liz Anderson)
Mark Perry, coordinator of the DC State Fair Best Bud Competition, takes a whiff of the winning bud, “Golden Strawberries.” Sam McBee, (at left) who submitted entry, is pictured here with Samson Paisley. (WTOP/Liz Anderson)

Samson Paisley smells “Golden Strawberries,” the winner of  2016 DC State Fair’s Best Bud Contest. He’s joined by contest coordinator Mark Perry, at right, and Sam McBee, who submitted the winning entry. (WTOP/Liz Anderson)
Samson Paisley smells “Golden Strawberries,” the winner of 2016 DC State Fair’s Best Bud Contest. He’s joined by contest coordinator Mark Perry, at right, and Sam McBee, who submitted the winning entry. (WTOP/Liz Anderson)
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Sam McBee, bending down at far the left, is winner of the 2016 DC State Fair’s Best Bud Contest. He says his entry, the “Golden Strawberries,” is strain created by Crockett Family Farms in California. He’s joined in this photo by contest coordinator Mark Perry, at center, and Chris Washburn of Let’s Grow DC. (WTOP/Liz Anderson)
Mark Perry, coordinator of the DC State Fair Best Bud Competition, checks out the winning bud, “Golden Strawberries.” Sam McBee, (at left) who submitted entry, is pictured here with Samson Paisley. (WTOP/Liz Anderson)
Mark Perry, coordinator of the DC State Fair Best Bud Competition, takes a whiff of the winning bud, “Golden Strawberries.” Sam McBee, (at left) who submitted entry, is pictured here with Samson Paisley. (WTOP/Liz Anderson)
Samson Paisley smells “Golden Strawberries,” the winner of  2016 DC State Fair’s Best Bud Contest. He’s joined by contest coordinator Mark Perry, at right, and Sam McBee, who submitted the winning entry. (WTOP/Liz Anderson)

WASHINGTON — After blazing the trail last year putting on the first-ever cannabis competition at a state fair, the D.C. State Fair held its second-annual “Best Bud Contest” Sunday in Northeast D.C.

“We judge by sight, smell and touch,” said Mark Perry, a coordinator for the competition at its inception last year. “And by sight: We’re looking through the magnifying glass to see how developed the trichomes are. They’re the little crystals that come out and grow on every single part of the plant. They grow on the stem, they’re growing on the leaf, they grow on the hairs. That is the actual THC, and that is what you want to look and see that it’s mature.”

Points were deducted for evidence of pests.

Judges also took trim and cure into consideration. Chris Washburn, from hydroponic equipment supplier Let’s Grow D.C., says those aspects are some of the most important categories of the contest.

“Cannabis, when it grows, retains a lot of water and in order to get it to the point where it’s consumable, that water needs to be dried out. It is a skill level that people spend their whole life refining,” he said. “It is not an easy thing to do. The humidity, temperatures all play a role in how it dries out. It’s very susceptible to fungi and molds.”

Washburn says he sees a lot of first-time or early growers who end up with moldy buds, and added, “In this case, the winner of this contest just really did a phenomenal job, not only manicuring and trimming the bud so it’s only bud and no leaf material remaining, but that it’s dried slowly.”

This year, the winner was Sam McBee of Northwest D.C. He submitted three entries and his strain called “Golden Strawberries” — created by Crockett Family Farms — won this year’s blue ribbon. McBee says Golden Strawberries is a cross between Kosher Kush and Strawberry Banana strains.

Growing good marijuana takes solid effort, he says, and added, “A lot of hard work and consistent effort and trial and error… always having an open mind, always learning, never thinking that you’ve perfected your craft, basically.”

Celebrating marijuana growers falls right in line with the intent of state fairs, Washburn says. He added, “The concept and idea of a state fair is really about the celebration of a harvest and people forget that cannabis is actually grown, and it’s just as fun to grow as tomatoes.”

The “Best Bud Contest” is held to honor the legalization of marijuana in D.C.

Recreational cannabis growers who are D.C. residents age 21 and older were invited to enter the contest, which was capped at 100 entrants.

Because D.C. law prohibits cannabis consumption at public events, judges did not consume the contest entries.

Matthew Delaney

Matt Delaney is a digital web writer/editor who joined WTOP in 2020.

Follow @WTOP on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

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